We have a bar at home. It was a generous gift from a friend after I inadvertently introduced him to his future wife in Sri Lanka. Cheers Pat – what a small world!
So that’s where we spend many a jolly evening raising a glass or two in the company of local friends and family. Who usually bring a bottle and enjoy the craic.
“I only want one glass” often turns into “Well maybe just another one…” and that’s fine of course when there’s no driving involved… But it occasionally turns into a later than expected bedtime, despite knowing you have to get up early the next morning for work.
So how do you know if you’re fit to drive the next morning? You feel OK, a bit tired and dehydrated perhaps, but you’re not sure precisely how many glasses you did say yes to, the size of the measure or the strength of the wine or beer.
This is why I was happy to review the Alcosense Excel digital breathalyser to see how this worked in such a situation.
Please note I didn’t buy this item nor was I asked to write a favourable review.
The Alcosense breathalyser
Described as ‘ideal for the morning after’ this digital breathalyser will tell you if you aren’t fit or safe to drive. The one I tested is the Alcosense Excel that costs close to £100 including delivery (to 95% of UK addresses). There are other Alcosense models – one is cheaper and another is more expensive. My review is based on the Excel.
Attractively packaged it comes with the digital hand-sized device, batteries, mouthpieces and a USB cable. It didn’t come with a pouch to keep it in – I use a spare gift-sized jewellery bag which does the job for me.
All you have to do is to fit the batteries (easy), plug in the USB, add the date and time then check the correct Blood Breath Ratio (BBR) in the country you’ll be using it in. NB: England, Wales and Northern Ireland have a higher limit than Scotland and most EU countries; you’ll find a helpful chart in the Instruction Manual and the Breathalyser Settings are easy to follow.
To perform a breath test, just fit the blow tube at an offset angle and take a deep breath in then a long and steady blow that lasts 6-8 seconds. The AlcoSense Excel needs 1 litre of exhaled air before it can accurately measure alcohol levels. Best to practise this technique in advance because if you run out of puff you’ll get an error message.
Afterwards, traffic light colours will confirm your recorded intoxification – if green you are good to drive. If Amber or Red you aren’t. Only drive when the Alcosense says 0.00 and you feel 100%.
NB: You must leave a minimum of 3 minutes between tests and not perform more than 10 tests in an hour.
Alcosense Review Findings
Where in doubt, the Alcosense Excel is an easy, low cost and quick check to make sure you’re fit to drive the morning after a night when alcohol was imbibed. Call it your peace of mind check and one I now recommend to friends who have an early driving start after a late night socialising.
Assuming it’s used the morning after, the Alcosense Excel is the same as the police version and is said to be more accurate than the cheaper Alcosense Elite model.
I had imagined this breathalyser would monitor your alcohol levels during the night you were drinking. I now understand why this is not and cannot be the case – mainly because it takes 90 minutes after your last drink for alcohol to be fairly distributed through your body and levels can vary dramatically during this period.
Alcosense also advises us not to blow into their breathalyser within 10 minutes of drinking as high levels of alcohol can affect/damage the accuracy of their sensors. Similarly these sensors can be affected by excessive noise, recent mouthwash and certain medications.
Reassuringly Alcosense offers technical support and a Query line if you have any problems that aren’t covered by their Instruction Manual’s Troubleshooting section.
For more information, including other reviews,visit the Alcosense website.